Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez always finds herself in the headlines. The rising Democratic Socialist is known for her quips on social media and because she is outspoken she often finds herself in the crosshairs of political rivals. The latest “controversy” surrounding AOC, however, is an odd one.
While speaking at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in New York, Ocasio-Cortez was speaking with a bizarre southern twang that is usually not noticeable in her voice.
That led to many calling her accent “fake” and accusing the Congresswoman of pandering to the predominantly black crowd.
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is speaking in front of a predominately Black audience, and she is using this weird ‘Ebonics’ accent in her voice. She damn near sounds like Diamond & Silk,” Tariq Nasheed wrote on Twitter. “I’m surprised she didn’t end her speech with ‘can you jive turkeys dig it.'”
“Accent mimicry is a real psychological effect and some researchers attribute it to empathy,” wrote Rini Sampath, a board member of IGNITE National. “I think it comes off as disingenuous when politicians do it because we immediately assume bad intent.”
Don Lemon of CNN, meanwhile, defended AOC’s accent: “We’re talking about code-switching. I do it, we all do it. There is a difference between mocking someone and knowing your audience.”
Listen for yourself:
As you might expect, AOC was quick to fire back on social media.
““Folks talking about my voice can step right off. Women’s March & Kavanaugh speech, same,” she said on Twitter. “Any kid who grew up in a distinct linguistic culture & had to learn to navigate class enviros at school/work knows what’s up. My Spanish is the same way. These conspiracy mills are [trash].
“As much as the right wants to distort & deflect, I am from the Bronx. I act & talk like it, *especially* when I’m fired up and especially when I’m home. It is so hurtful to see how every aspect of my life is weaponized against me, yet somehow asserted as false at the same time.”
Of course, that didn’t stop the criticism.
“Ocasio-Cortez speaks in an accent that she never uses while telling a room of predominately black people that there is nothing wrong with them folding clothes, cooking, and driving other people around on a bus for a living,” wrote Ryan Saavedra of the Daily Wire.
You can check out some of the other Twitter responses below.
As the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, AOC better get used to the constant attention and criticism. Because it won’t be stopping anytime soon.